Tag Archives: knitting

Random socks

Has anyone (other than me) come across a book called “Coloured Socks” which formed part of the Zebra Easy Learning and was published in 1983? Unsurprisingly it’s about socks. Regular readers may know I’m rather keen, if not mildly obsessed with (knitting) socks.

As my socks are being requested by a fair variety of people, I’ve decided to start selling them and other creations drawn from my knitting stash. Having sold a couple of pairs while at home, there was a suggestion that I brand but I need a name. The winning suggestion so far is related to the above book, but you kinda need to know the story for it to make sense so I’m curious to know whether anyone else will understand what I’m on about if I opt for ‘Benbo buns’.


A long time ago, I blogged about my first sock, and that inspired me to carry on knitting socks. Well, it inspired me for a few months during which time I made two complete socks from differing patterns and two half socks which matched. That’s the way they stayed until lent. After finishing the baby clothes I thought I’d pick up the unfinished projects and see where that took me.

I am delighted to say that of those three pairs of socks which were started 2 years ago, two have been completed and one completely undone.

These ones ended up with very different heels and I couldn’t remember what I’d done, so I undid them to have another go some time. The yarn is lovely – it’s hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester yarn. Unfinished Sock
The pink ones have a heart pattern on them, and were themed for Valentines Day. They are now finished after quite some time as they were the first pair of this batch to be started. They are made of lovely hand-dyed Merino yarn.
Pink Sock Pink Sock Detail
The next pair are the nicest I’ve made yet. The yarn is Alpaca which is hand-dyed and it’s so, so soft. The nightmare with it is that it’s very easy to get in a knot, and the mrs spent lots of the weekend painstakingly undoing the mess I’d got the spare yarn into.
Alpaca Sock Detail Alpaca Socks
The final pair of socks were started on holiday after the Knitting Disaster, and are a pattern I made up as I went along. I like it when things work out, and they’re close enough to my size so I’m actually getting a pair. They’re made of Regia Designer Sock yarn, so they are neither hand spun nor dyed like the other socks. While perfectly fine to knit with they weren’t as much fun so I’ve reverted to the nicer yarns for the current project, which I’ll share in good time.

A Knitting Disaster

As mentioned in my last blog post, I’m notoriously bad at finishing knitting but as part of my lenten discipline of doing something unrelated to work for half an hour (at least) each day, I packed some of my older projects with me to do on my holiday.

I opted to complete a pair of socks I knitted the first of over two years ago and merrily undertook the work.  Having established that the needles I’d (relatively) recently bought were the size I thought was right, I started.  After only a short while I realised the gauge was too small, so on a visit to a knitting shop bought the next size up, and restarted.  The sock was duly knitted each day, with me reaching the last 2 inches before the toe earlier today.  I was delighted, as was the Mrs who was looking forward to her socks – both of them.

Then, having had this nagging feeling throughout that the sizing was wrong, I checked the size of the three different needles I had to see whether I was using the right ones.

The 2.5mm fitted perfectly into their marker on my measure, as did the first of the 2.25mm ones (I had an odd needle with me).  When I came to put the final set of 2.25mm needles into the marker I discovered quite why the gauge was wrong on my knitted work – they were only 2mm needles.  While that difference might seem very tiny, I compared the socks and established that the second one was significantly bigger than the first. 

It meant to my great frustration that I had to undo 5 days worth of knitting and an almost complete sock.  Gutting!

Clatter of tiny knitting needles

It appears I’ve got to that point in life where there are a good number of friends and close acquaintences having kids.  This knowledge has been combined with one of my lenten tasks of doing something creative each day to produce the first batch of baby things.

My knitting is rarely ever completed, let alone sewn together so this marks the first complete thing which wasn’t made all in one!  May I present the fruits of my labour:

Oops I forgotted to blog again

I think I meant to write something before now. Oh well, that’s the problem when life gets in the way. It’s been something of a busy month and I don’t intend to go through it all but it’s been good.

In my last post I threatened to tell you a little more about when Jen and Sarah came to stay. They came to stay about 5 weeks ago now and the date of the Sunday is somewhat imprinted on my brain. Jen recounts the weekend in this post. As she said, we had a good weekend and went to the science museum. She was suitably entertained that I could do about as well with the mechanical digger as my reputation (at times) would suggest. Digging is certainly one of those things in life that I’m quite good at, at times. It also appears that i’m not to bad at mending & fixing either at times but I’ll come on to that.

The reason that the Sunday 20 August 2006 was somewhat imprinted in my brain was that it was the date of my trial service to go from ‘on note’ to ‘on trial’ as a local preacher, should I be successful. Those are the first two stages of training and I had to do the whole service myself. It was a challenging weekend because I was so nervous and was so grateful to Sarah and Jen for keeping me sane. When we got as far as Sunday morning, we went to leave my flat but couldn’t get through the gate. It took 5-10 minutes before we could get the padlock to open. That didn’t exactly help with nerves and when we got to the church I realised I’d not printed the order of service for the organist, then she wasn’t up to playing so one of my assessors ended up doubling up to do that too! I was so grateful to her too. My mentor introduced me at the start of the service and was really lovely about it all. He said a few words to the congregation and I could feel the tears just welling up inside me. I decided that the start of the service wasn’t the best time to burst into tears and fortunately managed to hold onto them but I was so, so nervous. I think it’s probably fair to say that the feedback was rather good for the service and I am now ‘on trial’ following the local preachers meeting. Now I have to do lots of study. It was really great to have Jen and Sarah around though to give me lots of hugs. I think that’s probably enough said about that really.

The week after that something rather exciting happened at work. Richard has already discovered what I’m talking about and Wood wrote for it (as did I, a little bit). We made a book and it’s great. Check out Richard’s review if you don’t believe me but it really is fantastic. It’s so amazing to have been involved with it since the beginning, before I joined the staff, and now it’s real. It’s so exciting.

I went to Greenbelt too and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I went to my first wibmeet despite being on here for nearly 3 years now. Doesn’t time go fast. Greenbelt was great and I think that it has been suitably reviewed by everyone else so I’ll leave them to it. 😉

So eventually we get to this month and things are as busy as ever – hence the lack of blogging. I went to a brilliant conference and it was great to catch up with people I’ve met over the last couple of years. I also got to spend some quality time with a good friend during the week and we agreed to teach each other new skills. Scary eh?

Speaking of teaching. I understand from Jen that my teaching of relaxation techniques has been quite successful. It’s really reassuring to know that it’s been successful and now I think I probably want to take some of my own advice. This is where the fixing (of Jen, a little bit) has been coming in.

The mending is in relation to my teaching. I’ve been teaching a friend to knit, and she’s teaching me guitar. This is a rather scary concept but exciting too. I’ve never tried teaching knitting before and it was a little daunting but my friend did very well. I was dead impressed and she learned to knit and purl, and cast on. She did really well and put me to complete shame because it took me about 15 years (not continuously, I hasten to add) to learn to purl. :$ At one point, as is perfectly understandable with newbie knitters she went wrong a little bit and I managed to fix it. It’s the first time I’ve tried actually fixing it properly. Normally I’d just unpull it if it was mine, but it wasn’t my knitting which meant I got to learn a new skill too. The guitar playing is a little more interesting. I’m not a very good student at all and I’m very nervous about it. She taught me 8 different chords and I need to practice them but the guitar went out of tune over night so I need to learn how to tune it too. My friend left me a tuner so it shouldn’t be too hard but I’ll give it a go when I get home. I need to practise more but hope to get there eventually. I’ve never been very musical so this is quite an undertaking! Oh well… if she’s going to be doing so well with her knitting, maybe it’s the incentive I need to practice my guitar playing. Wish me all the best with it.

Finally I should provide a little update on my knitting. I went to a knitting and stitching exhibition at the weekend. It was very good and I found some cool yarns made out of such exotic things as Bananas or at least their leaves and stems, Hemp and containing Soy Beans. It was very cool. I also got complimented on my knitting which was fantastic. The people who complimented me do the most exciting things and I’ve decided I want to go off and join them. They do giant knitting and recycling and it’s so, so cool. I texted a friend saying that I’d fallen in love after seeing that stall – she seemed suitably entertained by the concept! I’m still going on with my second sock. I’ll be done before I retire. I had a good crack at it last night but I think the tension might be a little tighter on this one. I’ll have to have a look later and see whether it’s too tight but it’s good to be making progress. Hmmm… maybe I should be counting rows though. I’ll show you a picture of my new bag (which was what the compliment was about) and my sock progress if I can.

Anyway, having not blogged for ages I think I’ve now written an essay so should call it a day. I’ll try and write slightly more frequently, but I do say that worryingly often.

Flat stuff again and smiles

Today I feel just great.

Okay, I’ll do the negative stuff first – I still haven’t finished sorting out my flat or even managed to email the agency. Oops. I need to make some progress today as some people have invited themselves round on Tuesday. *exasperated* I’ll get there but currently I’m procrastinating.

Today is such a lovely day. It’s the kind of weather I like – cold and sunny, but not too cold. There’s blue sky and not much wind. It’s lovely. I was involved with a service this morning and I thought it went really well (considering). We’d been planning it over the phone as both of us were far to busy to actually meet until this morning. Oops. 😉 There were also very few people there but it was such a great atmosphere.
It’s the first service I’ve done where it’s actually involved what I think in the planning for the whole service rather than just the bits I’ve been allocated or chosen. It was true team-work and was great. I came out of the service really buzzing despite still feeling anxious at midnight having not finished writing the prayers.

I’ve also had the opportunity to catch up on a good number of blogs this morning so I can see what people have been up to (or not). That was nice, then I went for a wander to a new pub for lunch (my reward for doing services). It was brilliant just having the opportunity to wander around, have a nice lunch and start contemplating two of my next three services. As a friend said, it’s amazing how productive procrastination can be.

Now for decisions, do I carry on knitting said friend her scarf, or carry on planning services, or tidy up, or have an afternoon nap? Maybe I’ll let you know later? Who knows?

Nice things

I’ve been on holiday from w*rk this week. Normally when I’m on holiday I can’t forget about w*rk and end up thinking about it all week no matter how hard I try. This week has been different though. I went down to Devon to see the tar barrels (see below) and they were great but I was still really sad and was in bed by 23.30 despite the last barrel not being run until midnight. My sister said it was mad as the square (town centre) was so full. She almost got squashed by the barrel and that’s not normal – even by tar barrel standards.

On the Sunday we just took it easy but it was nice to spend time with mum and my sister, well, mostly. On Monday my grandparents moved into mum’s house at the start of a 2-3 week stay. They’re having a new bathroom fitted as grandad is not mobile enough to cope with the current one. Also the old one is a fairly unique shade of vivid but not pleasant pink. It’ll be great when it’s done. Mum wasn’t well enough to go to school that day so all five of us got to spend some time together then we had a bonfire in the evening, complete with sparklers. It was really nice.

On Tuesday I spent the day with nandad and made them lunch which was something of a shock. I was supposed to come home that day but, for the first time in my memory, I decided that I’d had such a nice time that I stayed another night. On the whole, it was a really lovely time.

Wednesday was cool too – despite getting up at an unearthly hour of the morning. I met up with a couple of friends for lunch, did a little shopping then came home and did some painting. Okay, that makes it sound more exciting than it really was. I painted some canvasses in solid colours. There’s really nothing special about them other than that I painted them the colours they are now. I’ve not really painted in about 10 years so that was a surprise too. I’m also trying to extend my knitting repertoire as I can only do stocking stitch which makes me feel really crafty. Also something rather unusual.

All in all it’s been a really nice week with some lovely lie-ins, great opportunities to catch up with friends (it was also a friend’s birthday party tonight) and get to know some of them better, to do some crafts and generally chill out. It’s been really quite a good week.

Could do with more time though. I always say that I’ll sort my flat out during my holidays and never do.